Saturday Morning Rounds August 24, 2019 - How to overcome gender bias, and a US senate race you can learn from

Posted by BossB, MD on August 24, 2019
BossB, MD

Saturday Morning Rounds
A weekly round-up of everything that captured our attention over the last 7 days
What we're reading

How Women Can Escape the Likability Trap by Joan C. Williams

This just might be the best article we've ever read about how to navigate gender bias in the workplace. Seriously. The piece revolves around a central tension - the fact that

"sometimes what women need to do to survive and thrive in the world is exactly the opposite of what they need to do to change it."

Given that change has been slow to come, the author spends most of her time highlighting the ways that successful women (she's interviewed over 200 of them herself and done an extensive lit review) have mastered what she calls
"gender judo..." the ability to "do a masculine thing (which establishes their competence) in a feminine way (to defuse backlash)"
She gives some great examples that we can all apply to different professional contexts - from day-to-day interactions to career-determining negotiations. She also calls out the fact that this shouldn't be the norm, and gives readers an opportunity to decide what balance they themselves want to strike with nuanced passages like:
"For women who want to master this strategy, the first step is to behave as assertively as comes naturally and see what happens. If you find your effectiveness jeopardized because you being yourself triggers dislike, then you need to decide whether overcoming the backlash is worth the sacrifice."
The writing is clear, compelling, economical, and most of all honest. She packs more substance and actionable advice into ~1,000 words (<5min to read - time you should definitely invest as our summary can't do the piece justice) than what many are able to put into a book. Bravo.
Who we're following
MJ Hegar (@mjhegar) is a veteran combat helicopter pilot, a working mom, and a candidate for a seat the US Senate.
In the article we mentioned above, the author highlights her by saying
"In the most sophisticated form of this strategy, powerful women create an entirely new narrative, softening their hard-driving personas by highlighting that they are also communal, selfless mothers. A brilliant recent example is M.J. Hegar’s 2018 congressional campaign video. In it, a battered door — all that’s left of the helicopter she was shot down in while on an Air Force rescue mission — is tucked behind her dining table, where she sits contentedly with her family."
We watched the video, AND IT IS AWESOME!!! Regardless of which side of the political aisle you claim, her ad is a masterclass in communication, storytelling, and how to be both assertive and compassionate at the same time.

BBMD tip of the week

How can you be effective in negotiations while still maintaining a positive relationship with your counterpart? The above advice is a great place to start, and we have some thoughts on where to go from there.

In our negotiations curriculum, we encourage you to focus on getting the other person to talk more, which will give you both an informational advantage and maximize your emotional resonance with your counterpart - 2 surefire ways to get the best deal possible.

How can you actually do that? You only have to learn 3 skills:

  • Open-Ended Questions - Ask questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or a  "no." Avoid giving multiple choices for your counterpart to choose from. Instead, use questions that begin with "what" or "how" ("why" can make people feel defensive). It can be easy for a string of questions to feel like an interrogation though, so make sure you're expressing curiosity in your tone and body language when you ask, and add some...
  • Affirmations - Respond to your counterpart’s answers with statements that paraphrase what they’ve just said, normalize their viewpoints, or otherwise make them feel understood
  • Strategic Sharing - Once someone else has already given you information on a topic first, it’s okay to show your cards to them. As a matter of fact, this will (a) help you do so in a more compelling way, and (b) help the exchange to feel balanced - they want to understand you almost as much as they want to be understood, after all

String those together, and you'll find that the rest often takes care of itself!

Quote we're contemplating

"Wait. Barred because I was a woman?! That's ridiculous. So, I sued the Pentagon - but not just about that job - about the ban on women serving in all ground combat jobs." - MJ Hegar



As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions on Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!